Training Camp starts in about two weeks and it is time to look at players that are competing for the same spot. No one looks at the kickers, but this will be an important competition at Redskin Park through out this training camp. When looking at last years kicking game, many will wonder why ‘the Danny” did not shell out a little coin for a solid leg, when the team shopping back in March.
Place Kicker John Hall’s various injuries have kept him out of 14 games over the past two seasons. His range is coming into question (50% beyond 40 yards), and there is talk that he cannot handle kick-off duties. Speaking of kick-off duties, they may go to current Punter Derrick Frost.
Derrick Frost might want to concentrate on improving his 36.7-yard net before looking for additional duties. Frost placed less than a third of his punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line and had one of the best coverage teams in the NFL.
Hall and Frost have taken the same approach this off-season to prepare for upcoming training camp battles. They both decided to kick less this off-season than they had in years past. Hall recently had surgery so he would have been limited anyway.
Hall at age 32 will face un-drafted rookie Tyler Jones in the battle for the place kicking duties. Jones is a 6”1” 198 lbs. 23 year old from Boise State. He did not play in 2005 but in the 3 years prior, he was pretty consistent. In 2004 he made 88.9% of the field goals he attempted (24-27) he only had one miss from 38 yards or shorter and was 14 of 16 beyond 30 yards. Jones holds the NCAA record for consecutive extra points with 77. He also set single-season records for field goals with 24 and extra points with 75. He spent his off-seasons in Hamburg Germany kicking in NFL Europe, where he made 11 of 14 field-goal tries.
Derrick Frost faces a challenge from rookie David Lonie. Lonie is from Palm Beach, Australia and punted for the Cal. Bears for two years after transferring from Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls (Jr. College). In his Senior year at California, Lonie was ranked third in the Pac-10 averaging 41.95 yards per punt. He had 10 punts that covered more than 50 yards and kicked off 68 times with 27 touchbacks. Like John Hall, David has been known to stick his helmet into the action.
Danny Smith will be the judge in these battles and will have a watch-full eye on the new comers.